Saturday, December 17, 2011

On the rights of Palestinians

Does Israel have a right to exist? This question is often asked by defenders of Israel as a means to establish complete agreement on the right of Israel, because anyone who says "no" will be branded as anti-Semitic (i.e. as a bigot). The question left intentionally unasked is: Does Palestine have a right to exist? Personally, I believe both questions should always occur together. Asking the former, while omitting the latter, reveals the bias—and the bigotry—of the questioner. I believe the answer to both questions is yes, but a detailed answer requires a discussion of political philosophy. I'm a libertarian, and libertarians never miss an opportunity to discuss political philosophy.

States, countries, and governments do not have natural rights. Only human beings—or, in a broader sense, only living beings—have natural rights, rights endowed to us by our Creator. However, states, countries, and governments can have artificial rights—rights created by man—as a means to protect the natural rights of their people. Natural rights are inalienable, and superior to artificial rights.

When the natural rights of human beings collide with the artificial rights of states, justice requires that the natural rights of human beings should triumph. For example, during the U.S. Civil War, the South fought in favor of the artificial rights of states, while the North fought in favor of the natural rights of human beings. The North was right. The North was just. Thankfully for human liberty, the North won.

Israel has an artificial right to exist as a means of protecting the natural rights of Israelis. But the natural rights of Palestinians also need protecting. Currently, the Palestinians have no voice in the government that controls them. They are at the mercy of Israel. The Palestinians, constituting roughly 36% of the people under the control of the state of Israel, have no elected representation in the Israeli government. That is not modern democracy. The Israeli government regularly tramples on the human rights of the Palestinians. The Palestinians have no liberty. They deserve either full, elected representation in the Israeli legislature, the Knesset, or they deserve complete independence. Currently, they have neither.

So, yes, Israel has the right to exist. But a Palestinian state has the same right to exist—and for the same reason—to protect the natural rights of its people. The right of Israel to exist is no greater than, and no less than, the right of Palestine to exist. It is moral hypocrisy to support one and deny the other. So I ask you: Does a state of Palestine exist?

15 comments:

  1. By similar logic does an immigrant, legal or illegal, have the natural right to come to any state and have a voice in the government and have their representation triumph over the artificial rights that were adopted by the majority of those living in the state??

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  2. You need to get your facts straight, as this post clearly shows you have no idea what you are talking about. Israel is the only jewish state, the size of New Jersey. Here is a small country, with no natural resources, building a stable economy with an educated population. Israel has always worked to emphazise life, not death or conflict. There are a dozen of arab countries in the middle east, yet they are determined to take over Israel, a place where they had never governed before.
    The Pales. chose Hammas, a terror org as leaders of their government. They declare, openly, that their goal is to destroy Israel. 
    If Israel takes these Pales. as citizens, there would be no more Jewish state.
    Israel would love these people to be independant. This way it wouldn't have to supply oil, food,meds and elec to them. So Israel moved out of Gaza and surrounding jewish settlements in the disengaement. What did Israel get on return? Rockets.
    Here is video explaining the conflict:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63hTOaRu7h4&feature=youtube_gdata_player

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  3. In short, yes. A person who is a citizen of California has the right to move to New York and have a voice in the government of New York as long as they give up their right to a voice in the government of California. Crossing country borders should be no different than crossing U.S. state borders.

    However, there is no such thing as an immigrant having "their representation triumph over the artificial rights" of a state. It sounds to me like you're confusing state laws with states' rights. Laws and rights are entirely different concepts.

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  4. You said I need to get my facts straight and that I don't have any idea what I'm talking about, but then your comment said nothing that contradicted anything I said.

    I will say that as an American who believes in the separation of church and state I find the idea of "a Jewish state," "an Islamic state," or "a Christian state" to be a very backward concept.

    Hamas has no control over the West Bank, where the majority of Palestinians live.

    By the way, regarding your video, I looked up Prager University and it doesn't appear to be an accredited university anywhere. The fact that its website URL ends with .com rather than .edu is quite telling. Apparently it's just a right-wing talk show host who has decided to declare himself to be a university. In your comment, you did a very good job of parroting what was said in the video.

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  5. Thanks for your reply.  I have no desire to engage in a philosophical discussion about natural and artificial rights or the difference in the concept of laws and rights.  For example, I believe that the Constitution is the Federal law of the land and that the Bill of Rights is part of the Constitution and whether you want to call those amendments laws, or parts of laws, or just rights, is up to you. It appears that in your example those crossing country borders  would have the right to have a voice in their new country as long as they gave up a voice in their old.  Does that mean dual citizenship should not be recognized??  I believe states and countries have the obligation to pass laws curtailing the rights of those who are criminals, and all others whose intent is to change the well being of its citizens.  Accepting those who would infiltrate a new territory, and then just disown their country of origin, and then claim an equal voice in their new location is never going to happen, given human nature..No, I don't think a Palestine state exists and I wish all people of good will a chance for a good life.  If the news we have been getting over the years is anywhere near being accurate, the Palestinians have blown their chances to better themselves by word and deed many times.  I also  have hoped the Christians and Jews in Lebanon would have been treated better by Hezbollah.  By the way if Semites include both Jews and Arabs why is anti-Semitic considered to be only against the Jews?  I never could figure that out since their origins are identical, so I was taught.On another subject:  If the news, or responsible realtors would have made your housing price charts available to the public in a big way, when the steep climb was becoming evident, this mess would have been avoided.  Keep up the good work.   

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  6. James, Palestinians have been living under Palestinian control since they were granted a de facto autonomy close to 20 years ago. Their liberty and human rights are trampled by their own rulers - not by Israelis. You are confused when you say "
    The Palestinians, constituting roughly 36% of the people under the control of the state of Israel, have no elected representation in the Israeli government. " - Israeli Arabs indeed have representation and full rights - because they are citizens. The Palestinians living in West Bank/Gaza, are not citizens, hence they don't get a voice in Israeli politics (much like non citizens don't get a say in our political processes). They do have a voice in their own autonomy, however, and they have elected Hamas as a protectorate of their natural rights. 

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  7. "Hamas has no control over the West Bank" - sure they do. Israel controls their borders, but internally they are in charge. 

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  8. Fatah controls the West Bank, not Hamas.

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  9. Ok, can we agree that Fatah is made up of Palestinians and not Israelis? Hence Palestinians are governing/subjugating/oppressing themselves?

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  10. Yes, we can agree that Fatah is made up of Palestinians and not Israelis. We can also agree that the Palestinian leadership is to blame for much of the Palestinian people's problems, but as long as Israel occupies the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the Palestinian leadership will be able to use Israel as a scapegoat. Only when the Palestinians have complete independence will it become obvious to them that many of their problems are of their own making, not Israel's.

    That said, the Palestinian National Authority's control over the West Bank is limited. The entire West Bank continues to be an occupied territory of Israel. About half of the West Bank is completely controlled by Israel (see attached map for areas of Palestinian control). East Jerusalem, home to far more Palestinians than Israelis, is completely controlled by Israel. Even in Palestinian-controlled areas, the Palestinian National Authority has only limited control, not the complete control of an independent country.

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  11. "Israel occupies the West Bank and Gaza" - please explain what that means. I know that Israel controls the borders of those areas, but your comment is implying that Israel has the control of the territory itself. Is that true? Can you expand on that? Are there Israeli soldiers inside West Bank? Gaza? 

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  12. I'll farm this out to Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli-occupied_territories

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  13. Yea, from the wiki link  "Since the Israel–Palestine Liberation Organization letters of recognition of 1993, most of the Palestinian population and cities came under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority".  And ofcourse, while Israel has right wingers, left wingers, and everything in between, in  Palestinian controlled areas if you say anything moderate you can be dragged out in the night and be shot on the spot as a traitor. Palestinian gays, of course, can proclaim their sexuality only at a pride parade that would take place in Israel - no such expression can take in PA controlled areas. So, again, if you want to speak of oppression and etc., you'll to take a long, hard look at he Palestinian gov't that is elected by the Palestinians.

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  14. Some of your posts don't have the "Reply" link on them, so I'll respond to your last one (with the wiki excerpt) here. PA's control over the territory is limited in the sense that they have an autonomy and don't control their own borders, airspace, etc. Internally, however, they are in full control. There are no Israeli soldiers inside Palestinian cities. For example, if you are a Palestinian who wants to start his own business - you don't deal with Israel - you deal with the corrupt Palestinian government. Look, this is not a case where you have a vibrant (or even moderately vibrant) society that needs the ability to form military alliances to be  fully set. Nor is this the case where they recognize Israel's right to exist and are just negotiating borders. Palestinians have no incentive to honor any agreement, because they've been absolved of any responsibilities for their actions. Every time there are rockets launched from the territories
    the international community comes out, chiding Israel not to respond and to keep the "fragile ceasefire" or issue some other nonsensical statement of that sort. Somehow, the ceasefire, is deemed to still be in place even though the  Palestinians are breaking it with the rockets. The Palestinian government, which rules their people with an iron fist, is absolved of the responsibility of making sure no attacks come from its territory. Negotiating and signing agreements with such people is worthless.

    It remains to be seen how this will be presented in the history book, but I have a hunch that many of the members of the international community will make sure to scrub their unwavering support for the Palestinians. Such as the nodding and winking at the suicide attacks on Isreli civilians. Let's face it, the only reason why this conflict is (and has) been getting so much play in the media and why so many liberal democracies have been siding with the middle eastern tyrants is precisely because of the West's realiance on oil. Take away the oil aspect of it, and you'll be hard pressed to see what, for example, the liberal France (which views us here as here as puritans in some aspects) has in common with the dictatorships in the area. What exactly do they have in common with the blood thirsty monsters who use religion to turn their own kids into suicide bombers? That's the blood that the West is willing to be shed for oil, and yet it's not these liberal supporters who are being protested with the "No blood for oil" signs.

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  15. Yes, a 'Palestinian' has the right to exist just like a Jew, but that doesn't answer the real question or problem does it?

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